[LONDON] European stock markets slid in cautious opening trade on Wednesday on the back of weak Chinese and US economic data, and before the latest eurozone interest rate decision.
Investors also digested news that Finnish telecoms giant Nokia has struck a multibillion euro deal to buy Franco-American rival Alcatel-Lucent to create the world's biggest supplier of mobile phone network equipment.
In initial deals, the benchmark CAC 40 index in Paris gained 0.25 per cent to 5,230.98 points, despite a 10.5 per cent slump in Alcatel-Lucent shares.
Elsewhere, London's FTSE 100 slid 0.12 per cent at 7,067.10 points and Frankfurt's DAX 30 shed 0.06 per cent to 12,220.10 and compared with Tuesday's close.
Later on Wednesday, the European Central Bank will reveal the outcome of its latest monetary policy meeting at 1145 GMT.
ECB chief Mario Draghi is not expected to announce any changes in policy at the governing council's regular gathering.
But he is likely to underline the positive effects of a raft of different policy measures, including a contested sovereign bond purchase programme launched last month.